Monthly Archives: November 2014

Visiting the Boeing Renton 737 Plant

Visiting the Boeing Renton 737 Plant

Boeing Renton Plant from Logan Avenue and Park Street

Boeing does not offer any tours of its Renton, Washington factory where, most prominently, Next-Generation Boeing 737 airliners are built today, and the Boeing 737-MAX will be built in the near future.

Boeing has had the following operations at the Renton plant, which is conveniently adjacent to the Renton Municipal Airport.

  • The Renton factory built B-29 Superfortress, a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber.
  • After the second world war Boeing closed the Renton plant. In 1948, Boeing re-opened the Renton facilities to build the Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter for the United States Air Force.
  • Starting from the 1950s, the Boeing 367-80 and the Boeing 707 were built in Renton. The first production Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker first flew in August 1956 and the first production Boeing 707 rolled out of Renton in October 1957. Boeing produced 707s until April 1991.
  • Boeing also used the Boeing 707 final assembly building to manufacture the Boeing 727 three-engined aircraft between 1963 and 1982.
  • The Boeing 737 aircrafts built have their first flight out of the adjacent Renton Municipal Airport and then flown to Boeing Field for final preparation and delivery. Randy Tinseth, Vice President of Marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes offers great photo gallery flashback to celebrate the 737’s past, present and future.
  • The Renton plant refurbished the first four 747s ever built.
  • The Renton plant built Boeing 757, the revered twin-engine short-to-medium-range airliner.

Glimpse of Boeing Renton Plant from Cedar River Path

Visiting the Boeing Renton Plant: Cedar River Path & Logan Avenue

Google Maps for Boeing Renton 737 Plant: Cedar River

If you sincerely just want to glimpse at the plant itself, you can see it acceptably from Logan Avenue right outside of The Landing Mall. At the intersection of Logan Avenue and Park Street (map), if you cross the street there is a small grassy area right where Gate D-9 is.

Google Maps for Boeing Renton 737 Plant: Logan Avenue

There’s also a jogging / walking path along the Cedar River near the Renton Stadium where you can get pretty close to some parked 737s in various stages of manufacturing. The GPS coordinates are 47.49029,-122.211635.

Visiting Other Boeing Facilities in and around Seattle

Posted in Airlines and Airliners Travels and Journeys

Recommended Books for Independent Learning on the Brain & Creativity

Put Your Creativity to Work

Posted in Mental Models and Psychology

Nearest Alternates to Major Airports in the USA

Nearest Alternates to Major Airports in the USA

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Posted in Airlines and Airliners Travels and Journeys

Warren Buffett on the retirement of Fortune’s Carol Loomis

Warren Buffett on the retirement of Fortune's Carol Loomis

Warren Buffett on Carol Loomis’ retirement from Fortune Magazine:

Carol is one of the few people who is smarter at the end of every day than she was at the beginning of it. She has a reverence for facts, and then she makes them understandable and fun to read. You always wish her stories were longer. That’s the real sign of a great writer.

Carol Loomis is the longest-tenured employee in Fortune history after 60 years. She was 85 years old at retirement. She plans to continue writing some for Fortune in retirement.

Posted in Leaders and Innovators

Warren Buffett on Investing in the Airline Industry

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates : NetJets Advertisement

More than half a century ago, Ben Graham was critical of investing in airline stocks. His pupil Warren Buffett has said the same thing.

In a speech to students at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the lpehwxv University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995, Warren stated:

The fella that runs USAir is a wonderful guy, but he just happens to be in an extraordinarily tough business. And the interesting thing is that I had written something for {Benjamin} Graham’s book in the early 70’s about how the airline business was about the toughest business there was.

And the interesting thing is, of course, is that if you go back to the time of Kitty Hawk, net, the airline transport business in the United States has made no money. I mean, just think if you had been down there at Kitty Hawk, and you had saw this guy {Wilbur Wright} go up {in the air}, and all of a sudden this vision hit you that tens of millions of people would be doing this all over the world some day and that it would bring us all closer together and everything, and think my God this is something to be in on.

And despite putting in billions and billions and billions of dollars, the net return to owners from being in the entire airline industry, if you owned it all, and if you put up all this money, is less than zero.

If there had been a capitalist down there {at Kitty Hawk the day the Wright brothers made their first flight} the guy should have shot down Wilbur! I mean … {audience laughter}. You know… one small step for mankind, and one huge step backwards for capitalism!

But anyway…. So along comes 1989 and I’ve got a lot of cash. And no one misled me in any way shape or form. And I mean this was 100% my decision {to invest in USAir}. And I put money in it. Seth Scofield, you can’t find a better human being or manager than Seth Scofield, but he is operating with revenues based on market factors and cost that are not based market factors, and that’s a recipe for a lot of trouble.

So I now have this 800 {telephone} number, and if I ever get the urge to buy an airline stock I dial this number. And I say my name is Warren, and I’m an “air-o-holic,” and then this guy talks me down on the other end {of the line}….

High fuel costs have turned the airline industry into a good investment

Paradoxically, high fuel costs have turned the airline industry into a good investment. When oil prices skyrocketed in 2008 to $147 a barrel, the airlines cut capacity, ground flights, develop more-efficient scheduling, and take other steps to offset higher fuel costs. High fuel costs also curtailed the start-up or accelerated the demise of many airlines. Barriers to competition rose. In the past few years, the industry has consolidated and oil prices are lower. Airlines are running their businesses for profitability and not for market share. Airlines have raised fares, unbundled their offerings by charging for bags, extra legroom, and food, while maintaining low capacity growth.

Posted in Airlines and Airliners Investing and Finance

Consider Nurturing Yourself

Consider Nurturing Yourself

Here’s a typical day for Eve: After five hours sleep, she rises, gets her two busy preteens off to school, feeds the new puppy, and drives two hours to her job as an attorney. Once she arrives at home, she helps her kids with homework, then catches up on her own legal work till after midnight. FYI, she’s a single mom, too.

“I’m so stressed, I feel I’m about to have a heart attack,” Eve told me recently. “Actually, that might not be so bad. At least I’d finally get some rest.”

Eve was kidding, of course. But her words struck a chord, perhaps because the story is so familiar. Women tend to focus on others first. But for many of us, the nurturing switch is stuck in the ‘on’ position until a jolt (like getting sick) forces us to attend to our own needs.

We talked about how she might devote some attention to herself-not just to her kids and to her work. “Can you think of ways you could nurture yourself?” I asked.

“Get more sleep, hire a babysitter for a few hours so I could put my feet up, have a girls’ night out with friends,” she said. But would she do it? “I’d feel guilty about neglecting my kids,” Eve admitted.

What we women must learn is to give ourselves TLC, too, while we nurture others. This means accepting, as Parker J. Palmer puts it in his book “Let Your Life Speak”: “Self-care is never a selfish act …. Any time we can listen to our true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.”

Eve is learning. She still spends evenings with her children, but she has a babysitter for Saturday mornings. And Palmer’s quote reminds her that when she nourishes herself, she generates energy to care for those she cherishes.

Posted in Health and Fitness

India in the ‘Fragile Five’ Club of Emerging Nations in Turmoil

The phrase ‘Fragile Five’ was coined by a research analyst at Morgan Stanley in 2013 to classify Turkey, Brazil, India, South Africa and Indonesia as economies that have become too reliant on foreign investment to bankroll their development ambitions. These countries have one essential thing in common—high and rising current account deficits that compel them more dependent on foreign capital flows. The expression has caught on in large degree for the reason that it emphasizes the strains that befall when countries place too much emphasis on fuelling fast rates of economic growth.

The Emergence of Narendra Modi

The Emergence of Narendra Modi

India’s confused point of view was reflected in the emergent legacy of Manmohan Singh, who may be reminisced as the nation’s best finance minister and its worst prime minister. The breakthrough opening of India that Singh planned as finance minister in the 1990s has been generally outdone by growing corruption and incompetence during his ten year tenure as prime minister. As his feeble coalition government continued to dither despite slowing growth and rising inflation, surveys showed that Indian voters were looking to new faces—even a strongman—to put things right.

Over the years, political momentum shifted to regional parties with strong leaders, and in recent months to the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, the energetic but overbearing regional leader who positioned his state of Gujarat as the “China of India” after presiding over Gujarat as Chief Minister for twelve years.

A recipe of good luck and resolution has reawakened economists’ cheerfulness about India just as the halo besieging Narendra Modi is beginning to grow fainter. Good luck has come in the form of plummeting oil prices, which are reducing the import burden. Modi took benefit of the price cut to abolish diesel-fuel subsidies and raise regulated natural-gas prices by a third, saving India’s under-pressure budget close to 1% of gross domestic product and disentangling a key market distortion.

Propelling India Forward

The benchmark Sensex Index on the Bombay Stock Exchange has by now climbed 30% ever since Modi became prime minister. But, he may still not have provided enough to lift India’s stock markets higher right away. Companies traded on India’s Sensex index already boast an average price/earnings ratio of 17.4 times 2014 estimates, compared with 11.4 for Brazilian shares, 9.5 for stocks in Shanghai, and 4.7 for distressed Russia. So a good portion of reform success is already priced in.

Not like in China, which is grappling to transform from manufacturing to a more consumer-oriented economy, India’s evolution counts on strengthening uncompetitive factories, which produce just 16% of GDP, compared to more than 20% in most emerging markets.

At any rate, Modi is endeavoring to impel his country in a positive direction. That alone makes India an refuge among the BRIC markets. Brazil and Russia are rallying around leaders who are moving resolutely in the wrong direction, as far as world markets are concerned, while China sends mixed, opaque signals about its own promised reforms and seems resigned to economic slowdown.

India: A Reading List

Posted in Global Business

How to Relax After Work

How to Relax After Work

When you drag yourself home after a crazy-hectic day, steer clear of all e-mails and voice mails, at least initially, suggests Jeffrey Brantley, MD, and Wendy Millstine in their book “Five Good Minutes in the Evening” Their subtitle: ‘100 Mindful Practices to Help You Unwind from the Day and Make the Most of Your Night.’

“E-mails and voice messages perpetuate the constant busyness, hurry, and worry of modern life,” says Brantley, director of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program, part of the Duke University Health System’s Integrative Medicine Program. “It’s important to step back from those things from time to time and give yourself some space.”

To do just that, set aside a certain period (between 30 minutes and an hour) to let go of the need to respond to other people-electronically, that is. Sit in a comfortable place for a short while and remind yourself that your serenity and peace of mind, for those precious moments, are yours to savor.

Posted in Health and Fitness

Investing is a Passive Pursuit

Investment Process: Common Sense and Knowledge of Business is Important

“The stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient.”
– Warren Buffett

Efforts to time the market, select mispriced stocks or pursuing “hot” investment managers and mutual fund managers are likely to do more harm than good.

Investing is one of those rare human endeavors where effort doesn’t necessarily pay off. Taking a hiatus on trading one’s account may actually be helpful to a portfolio’s returns.

I remember reading about a study by Fidelity had concluded that the customer investing accounts that had performed the best were the ones held by people who had forgotten they even had Fidelity accounts, and so did no trading from their accounts.

Similarly, when families fight extended court battles over many years for rights over inherited assets, the investment accounts in question cannot be touched for 10 or 20 years. Such feuding families found that over an extended period of inactivity, their investments performed the best.

Daniel Solin of DailyFinance explores the ramifications of these stories:

These investors took no advice from a “market-beating” broker or adviser. Considered no financial news. Made no effort to time the market. Made no additions to or subtractions from their portfolios. They engaged in no analysis of any kind. And yet, it worked. Could this be the key to investing success?

Here’s sage advice from Warren Buffett:

  • In Berkshire Hathaway’s 1990 Chairman’s letter and annual report, Warren Buffett wrote, “Lethargy bordering on sloth remains the cornerstone of our investment style: This year we neither bought nor sold a share of five of our six major holdings.”
  • In Berkshire Hathaway’s 1996 Chairman’s letter and annual report, Warren Buffett wrote, “Inactivity strikes us as intelligent behavior. Neither we nor most business managers would dream of feverishly trading highly-profitable subsidiaries because a small move in the Federal Reserve’s discount rate was predicted or because some Wall Street pundit had reversed his views on the market. Why, then, should we behave differently with our minority positions in wonderful businesses? The art of investing in public companies successfully is little different from the art of successfully acquiring subsidiaries. In each case you simply want to acquire, at a sensible price, a business with excellent economics and able, honest management. Thereafter, you need only monitor whether these qualities are being preserved.”

However, long periods of neglect can only be taken so far before it gets dangerous. Unless you periodically rebalance your portfolio or sell stocks where your original investment philosophy no longer holds or where the fundamentals have deteriorated, you will either be taking too much or too little risk. Over time, this can have serious consequences.

A rational investor must take the path of simplicity and relative moderation via the use of index funds, ETFs, and other passive investments rather than fooling themselves into believing that they can consistently “beat the market.”

The best returns originate from those investors who wait for the best opportunity to show itself before making a commitment. Those who chase the current hot stocks usually end up losing more than they gain, over the long term.

Posted in Investing and Finance

Fortune Magazine’s Summer 2014 Business Book Recommendations

Posted in Business and Strategy Management and Leadership